Five Movie Stunts You Should Not Attempt In Real Life

Right here in Kansas City one person died and another ended up in a hospital after a car involved in what appeared to be a street race ran a red light and hit another car. The driver from the car that ran the light is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries and the driver from the car that got hit is dead.

Which made me think of those highly-entertaining Fast & Furious movies because they make street racing look like incredibly cool events attended by smoking hot women who make Angelina Jolie look like a 6 having a bad day. They then race through the public streets and narrowly miss all the poor schmucks just trying to get home after a long night waiting tables or dispensing alcohol to people who should have stopped drinking three margaritas ago.

As I believe I’ve already confessed on numerous occasions, I’m a sucker for action movies because when I watch a movie I want to be entertained; I don’t need a movie to remind me Life is Hard and Then We Die.

If you enjoy tear jerkers about relationships ending or someone facing a life-threatening illness or someone opening the latest bill from their cable TV provider, go right ahead, but generally speaking I watch movies to stop thinking about that stuff for a couple hours.

But that doesn’t mean I take those highly-entertaining action movies seriously and off the top of my head I can think of some pretty unlikely action sequences from Fast & Furious movies that include, but are not limited to:

  • Jumping a car out of a moving train…

  • Jumping a car between two skyscrapers…

  • Jumping cars equipped with parachutes out of a plane and then landing those cars exactly where they want to on an incredibly convenient road.

The drivers survived all those stunts without a scratch because – and you might want to write this down – those are movies.

Worth remembering:

Paul Walker – one of the stars of the Fast & Furious movie franchise – died when a friend lost control of his Porsche and hit a tree. In Real Life you sometimes lose control and if you run a red light you might not miss the other cars going through the intersection because you’re not a stunt driver who planned out the action sequence with another stunt driver.

So as a public service let me provide a short list called: Five Movie Stunts You Should Not Attempt In Real Life.

1.Fall more than 20-to-25 feet

According to an article on PubMed Central (which seems to be a website for people in the medical community who study Extremely Weird Shit) you can fall 300 feet and survive, depending on body position when you hit (turns out you want to land on both feet) and what you hit (a thick bed of Stay Puft Marshmallows is advisable), but most of the time if your fall is anything over 20 feet they don’t like your chances.

In general, a fall of 100 or more feet is considered “non-survivable” and if you get incredibly lucky and are one of those million-to-one shots and somehow survive a long drop you probably won’t enjoy life after that because your new nickname will be “Shorty.”

The female rock climber who fell 300 feet and survived broke a lot of bones in the process and much shorter falls can still do a lot of damage.

The Center for Construction Research says that 11.7 percent of fall-related fatalities came from falls of just 6-to-10 feet so be careful climbing that ladder to clean your gutters. And quora.com says it’s “exceedingly unlikely” that you would survive a fall of 20 feet, so those scenes where the hero jumps between two buildings or lands on an awning or in a handy dumpster and then gets up and runs away are pretty much bullshit because in reality the hero might survive the jump, but then lie there moaning with two fractured ankles and a screwed-up spine.   

2. Shoot a gun out of someone’s hand

I once saw dash-cam video of a gunfight between a cop and bad guy and they were maybe 10 feet apart and both of them emptied their guns and didn’t hit anything. Turns out when you’re scared shitless and full of adrenaline, it’s hard to be accurate with a handgun.

A high school buddy had a .45 automatic and just for grins we threw a gallon milk jug out on his lawn and tried to hit it and it turned out the safest place you could have been was holding the milk jug. (He lived way out in the country so don’t worry about our highly-inaccurate marksmanship.)

According to Police1 which sounds like a new cop show on ABC, but is actually a website about police for police, it is possible to shoot a gun out of someone’s hand because a couple police snipers have done it, but Police1 still thinks it’s a horrible idea.

A trained sniper using a rifle on a tripod on a fixed base, shooting at someone standing still might make this shot, but Police1 took some police snipers out to attempt this and in several instances the gun being shot exploded. So if you were shooting the gun out of a bad guy’s hand so you wouldn’t have to kill him, even if you make the shot there’s a good chance the gun would explode (apparently bullets react badly to being shot by another bullet) and kill him anyway, not to mention anyone in the immediate vicinity because your outstanding marksmanship just turned a gun into a hand grenade.

And if you don’t shoot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand you now have a pissed off bad guy still holding a gun.

3. Get punched in the head without consequence

According to an Australian government health website (and you gotta love that Australia decided to look into this because it fits our probably-inaccurate stereotype of what Australians like to do on the weekend) one solid punch to the head can kill you if you get unlucky because your brain is like a blob of Jell-O (especially if you went drinking in Adelaide on Friday night and got punched early on Saturday morning) and it will bounce around inside your skull and even if you don’t die, you’ll likely have headaches, memory loss, nausea, dizziness and ringing in your ears.

I used to be a boxing fan and trained boxers spend round after round trying to land one solid punch to the head and when they do the fight is often over.

Which is why referees stop fights because once someone has been solidly tagged, he’s pretty much defenseless and a couple more punches might kill him or do permanent brain damage and explains why I’m now pretty much an ex-boxing fan.

So the idea that two grown men can punch each other repeatedly in the head like they do in prolonged movie fights and then drive a car at high speed or make out with a hot chick or defuse a bomb is bullshit, because they’d probably have their hands full throwing up or asking how all the fire flies got in the room.

Which reminds me of a great Salvador Perez story.

The Royals catcher got hit in the head and when the trainer came out and asked Salvy who was president, Salvy asked: “Of which country?”

Also:

I didn’t go to med school, but in my experience the human head is pretty much a bowling ball covered by a thin layer of skin and it’s really easy to break your hand when you punch one. If you land the punch with the last few knuckles on your hand (ring and pinkie fingers) a “boxer’s break” is not uncommon and unfortunately I speak from experience.  

4. Punch a wall or mirror

Apparently, the most common way to suffer a boxer’s break is punching a wall or a door and if you try to replicate one of those movie scenes where the brooding hero stares at a mirror and then punches it in rage and/or disgust, you better have some band-aids handy because you’re quite likely to need stitches.

I included this internet picture of someone about to punch a mirror and possibly break a thumb because you don’t tuck your thumb inside your fist when you throw a punch and this image should remind us we don’t have the skill to get away with what a trained professional can do in a movie.

5. Jump your Mustang off the hills of San Francisco

That’s a picture of a car driven by a teenager who decided to try out “hill jumping” with five of his friends in the car. The car crashed on landing, went through somebody’s yard, went airborne again, and sailed over a waist-high electric fence before finishing its automotive career as a visual tribute to bad planning.

As you might have suspected, cars that fly through the air with the greatest of ease, land and then keep right on going have better suspension, rims and tires and are driven by stunt men and/or women who know what they’re doing.

In conclusion, stop doing stupid shit

For years I covered big league baseball and was always amused and/or appalled at people who thought they could do what big league players could do because those highly trained big league players made it look so easy.

I was in Kauffman Stadium the last night they took a fan out on the field and let him try to catch three pop-ups shot out of a pitching machine and it was the last night for that particular stunt because the guy blew out his knee trying to catch a pop up and had to be carried off the field on a stretcher.

People in movies can get away with doing things the rest of us can’t because they’re trained and it’s all planned out by professionals so if you want to go hill jumping or leap between two building or punch someone in the head, do what the people in movies do:

Hire a stuntman.

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